5 Types of People to Turn Down

Dear Adeline,

Concerts are fun. They are also deafening. Hence the reason we don’t live at concerts.

Some folks are like concerts. They are loud and fun. Other are more like Nickelback concerts – loud and horrible. Regardless, it’s sometimes necessary to turn their volume down.

The following types of people are like concerts:

*Note: I use “he” and “she” arbitrarily as all of these people are found among both boys and girls

1. The Political Agenda Person

This person lives through the prism of a political viewpoint. A Prius owner is a snooty liberal who wants to shred your Bible into compost to help grow an organic community vegetable garden. A Business owner is a capitalist pig who would enslave female minorities if it meant profit. You get the idea.

He only assumes pure evil of somebody with an opposing political viewpoint. Be wary, to him you are as valuable as you agree politically.

Ever-vigilant, at any moment he sanctimoniously regurgitates the latest banalities from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Bill Maher. If you just felt indignation from my mention of either of those guys, then you are this person.

The maddening thing about this person is he can never admit to his myopic worldview. This is because his identity is welded to his political affiliation. He manically tunes out legitimate opposing viewpoints out of fear. He isn’t afraid of hearing something that he disagrees with, he is afraid of hearing something that makes sense.

He is a house of cards.

2. Always-in-a-Crisis person

I guarantee you that you will regularly encounter this person. This guy has the uncanny ability to spin everyday life into his personal little armageddon.

No life experience is too insignificant for weeks of analysis, deep sighs and sleepless nights. Ask how he has been and brace for the vomit stream of tiny details blown out-of-proportion.

Be careful not to confuse this person, however, with a friend who is actually going through a crisis.

3. The High-Expectations Person

You won’t identify this person until it is too late. Typically a perfectionist, she holds herself to an impossibly high standard and thus self-righteously holds you to that same standard.

At first, she is intoxicating. This is because she is so damned good at being your friend. She remembers your birthday, gives perfect gifts and invites you to everything. Indeed, a good friend will do these things.

The problem is that she expects the same from you.

Passive-aggressiveness is the air she breathes. Sometimes, she will purposefully suspend contact to test your devotion. Every day that passes without contact feeds her righteous indignation. Expect a subtly hostile “where have you been?” when you do reconnect.

There is no way not to offend this person. You don’t need to cow to her expectations.

4. The Inner Circle Junkie

The inner circle junkie thrives on exclusivity. She is always on the hunt for who is in the know and who is cool. If she perceives you to be in a circle that is more “inner” than her current one, then expect a new BFF. Be wary, however, if she moves beyond you. She will inexplicably drop out of your life as she searches for another person-stool to stand on.

The inner circle junky is oblivious to others when she is in the midst of her circle. She is too mired in her political machinations to notice how that hilarious inside joke may have made everyone else feel excluded.

This person is a master name-dropper who hooks her sense of self to her perceived importance of the people who have her on speed dial. If you stand on a stage of any kind expect to become well-acquainted with the inner circle junkie.

5. The Religious Zealot

Adeline, there is one person on this list that I would have turn completely off, not just “down.” It’s the religious zealot. First, let me be clear, I am NOT talking about somebody who takes his faith seriously. Furthermore, I am not even talking about somebody who is vocal about his faith.

A religious zealot is a person who has weaponized his faith. Instead of humbly submitting to his beliefs he wields them as a weapon to manipulate and control. The world is a nail and he is God’s (insert any other god) hammer.

Anger, judgement and righteous indignation gurgle within like an overflowing septic tank. His mastery of his faith feeds his insufferable arrogance. His faith is his drug in that it serves to mask the shame that he inevitably spews on any in his vicinity.

Avoid at all costs.


Adeline, please remember that this list is about volume, not “on” and “off.” Save for the religious zealot, I am not telling you to cut these people out of your life completely. And by no means am I giving you permission to be rude and ungracious.

Also remember, people change and mature. You can love somebody at the same time you have her turned down.

Hell, you may someday decide to turn me down for a bit.


  1. Oh my goodness… have you been following me? hahaha! I swear – I KNOW these people! Inner Crisis and High Expectations are such a pain… As for the religious zealot, I couldn’t agree more! (I am, as it happens, a Jehovah’s Witness,so talking about faith is neither new, taboo or uncomfortable.) Belief is one thing. Talking about it shouldn’t really ever be a problem – I have mine, you have yours, let’s be kind and play nice. But narrow ignorance is what inspires people to weaponize their “faith.” If one claims to be Christian, how about behaving like – oh, I don’t know – maybe Christ? – and exercising a little self control. 🙂 Thanks as always for yet another insightful post. Keep them coming!

  2. Thank you for finding definitions for a few of the sorts I’ve run into from time to time. I like your idea of turning the volume down, not off. That seems the kindest route to take in such encounters. Also, desperately hoping I don’t fit any of these categories.

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